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Florida Lee County deputies Lt. Michael Miller, Capt. Eric Smith suspended for interfering in investigation

Discussion in 'Incidents of police abuse, misconduct, negligence' started by M, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. M

    M Muckraker

    Perp: Lt. Michael Miller, Captain Eric Smith

    Victim: Wilfredo Quintero Jr.

    Department: Lee County Sheriff's Office

    Location: Lee County, Fort Myers, Florida

    WINK: Deputy suspended for interfering with investigation (Oct 21 2013)

    In August, Lt. Michael Miller was the victim of a burglary ... On August 12th, Miller went to AFA Towing and searched the vehicle without a search warrant. According to the IA report, he also took items out of the car. He later admitted to investigators that he shouldn't have searched the vehicle and interfered with the investigation ... Miller's superior, Captain Eric Smith, admitted to investigators that he made 13 phone calls to people associated with the person of interest. Three people complained to the Sheriff's Office that they received "threatening phone calls" related to the burglary. Smith denies he made any threats. Miller was suspended for three days for interfering with an official investigation and violating Sheriff's Office policy. His superior, Capt. Smith, was suspended for two days.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  2. M

    M Muckraker

    WINK: New video shows Lt. Miller walking into tow yard (Oct 23 2013)

    ... Lt. Miller was the victim of a burglary at Fort Myers Beach in August. Quintero was parked in the same resort. While he was questioned by authorities he was never considered to be a suspect. Quintero walked away from Deupties and the resort management had his van towed.


    "Somebody called me and left some threatening phone calls," said Quintero's ex-wife while leaving a voicemail for a Detective. She claims the person on the other end of the phone told her "they were going to beat (Quintero) and they were coming over here and they had something for me because I was harboring him." According to Captain Smith's phone logs, he called her five times in a two hour period on August 13th, including at 1:32, 1:32, 1:38 and 1:49. He denies he made any threats. Smith was suspended two days for interfering with an official investigation.
  3. M

    M Muckraker

    News-Press: Lee County Sheriff's Office cites captain, lieutenant for illegal search: Tampa man says he has lost job because of personal investigation (Oct 22 2013)

    A Lee County Sheriff’s captain, suspended for misconduct this month, had a history of launching personal investigations that should have fallen outside his jurisdiction. Capt. Eric Smith and Lt. Michael Miller were suspended for two and three days, respectively, after they launched a burglary investigation — though they work in youth services and are only authorized to work school-related incidents.


    Two months earlier, Smith’s wife had two credit cards stolen while the couple was getting a car washed, according to public records obtained from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. Smith instructed a youth services detective under him to launch an investigation, though his unit did not have jurisdiction over the case. The detective arrested Herbert Morse, who was found guilty of fraud in Lee County court.


    The vehicle belonged to Wilfredo Quintero Jr., a Tampa Yellowbook salesman who was seen in the parking lot of the resort where Miller was staying. “I don’t believe at the time we had any association with him being in the room or near the room,” said Detective Charles Beatty, the detective who was conducting the official investigation. “We had no witnesses saying that we saw him loitering in the area.”

    But Smith called Yellowbook, asking questions. Quintero told The News-Press on Tuesday the call associated him with a crime, and cost him his job. The documents Miller took from Quintero’s car included immigration papers that authorized him to work in the U.S., Quintero said. Miller was to have turned over the documents, which the sheriff’s office was to have returned to Quintero via mail. But Quintero, a native of Cuba, said he never received his immigration papers, and hasn’t been able to work since. He’s scheduled to apply for new papers next month, which will cost him about $500, he said. “It’s made my life miserable,” Quintero said.

    Cathy Freeman, Quintero’s ex-girlfriend, complained to Lee County deputies she received several threatening phone calls Aug. 13 from a caller who identified himself only as John. First the caller asked for Quintero, Freeman said. Then he swore at her, threatened to beat her, and said he was outside the home where Freeman was staying with her daughter and 3-year-old granddaughter. Smith’s phone record shows he called Freeman five times in a two-hour period Aug. 13. Smith admitted to investigators he called Freeman, but said he identified himself.

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